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Heidi L

Best Choice For First Grinding/shaping Tool?

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Hi everyone,

 

I am looking into a couple of routes as I begin my journey in carving stone beads. I will have to keep things simple to start, and was originally just going to go with a Dremel 4000 (or similar model) with the flex shaft attachment that I could buy at my local hardware shop.

 

Last night though, I was looking at the Foredom Bench lathe, and discovered that it too has a flex shaft attachment option, and a little powerhouse at that.

 

I thought I'd ask your opinion, if starting with the simple Dremel would be wise, or if for a small amount more it might be better worth it to get the bench lathe and have more flexibility? I have experience with both the Foredom flex shaft and high powered lathe from my metal working years, but I have no idea how to translate that into small stone beads. Both tools were indispensable with metal working but at the moment I am fairly limited as to what I can start with.

Thanks so much for any insight you may have or experience with either of these tools.

 

Kindest,

Heidi

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Hi

I only have experience with the Dremel but I do think the Foredom Bench lathe can be a great tool depending on how you make your beads. The bench lathe looks like an excellent polishing tool.

You are mostly gonna be using the flex shaft because you have to do everything wet to keep your tools from breaking and to help with dust.

The flex shafts are a lot more efficient when the motor is hanging because the more you have to bend the shaft the more strain you put on the motor so the dremel might be more efficient at this because it can be hanged.

 

Consider the price of all the accessories too and also the technique you want to use to make your beads.

here is a good tutorial to see the process : http://www.lopacki.com/lopacki/howto/index.html

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Hi Peter, thank you so much for your insight. What you said about the motor hanging is a great reminder, as well as the fact that water has to be applied constantly so it would be best to have that motor up and away.

 

Also, many many thanks for this link! I tried earlier to access some of Danny's links from previous posts but they seemed to be broken / error received saying site was not available.

 

This is exactly what I was looking for, thank you again.

 

Kindest,

Heidi

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Early on I used a hanging Dremel flexshaft and was encouraged to try an NSK microgrinder. The flexshaft tool caused a lot of forearm, wrist and hand strain while trying to keep the swinging shaft and motor from affecting the cutting process when moving the bit around while cutting/grinding. Switching to the NSK microgrinder was a delightful step to take. You might find more information on the forum by doing a search using NSK as the search term.

 

Janel

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Early on I used a hanging Dremel flexshaft and was encouraged to try an NSK microgrinder. The flexshaft tool caused a lot of forearm, wrist and hand strain while trying to keep the swinging shaft and motor from affecting the cutting process when moving the bit around while cutting/grinding. Switching to the NSK microgrinder was a delightful step to take. You might find more information on the forum by doing a search using NSK as the search term.

 

Janel

 

Yes, the shaft does wobble. For me its very hard to do fine lines with it if I try to engrave, have to hold it with 2 hands .

not sure if the micro grinder works with water tho:P

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Have you tried mounting the hand piece in a holder of some sort that renders it immovable and then use both hands to hold and move the stone? Somewhere on the forum in past years someone posted images of that technique while work/study time was spent in China. It seems to be a very good idea. One could isolate the motor/hand piece, or the flex shaft hand piece, from the water side of a barrier that surrounds the wet work space with a pan for catching the water and slurry. A constant, steady drip mechanism has also been posted by various stone workers.

 

Securely mounting the hand piece would put off the need to have a more controlable unit such as the NSK for hand held carving.

 

Janel

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Have you tried mounting the hand piece in a holder of some sort that renders it immovable and then use both hands to hold and move the stone? Somewhere on the forum in past years someone posted images of that technique while work/study time was spent in China. It seems to be a very good idea. One could isolate the motor/hand piece, or the flex shaft hand piece, from the water side of a barrier that surrounds the wet work space with a pan for catching the water and slurry. A constant, steady drip mechanism has also been posted by various stone workers.

 

Securely mounting the hand piece would put off the need to have a more controlable unit such as the NSK for hand held carving.

 

Janel

 

Yeah, I tried it. I mounted the flex shaft under the tap, I had the water dripping.

I have seen the technique in jade carving videos from China but it didn't really work for me . takes a lot of practice to learn ...

Im not really complaining tho. When I try carving fine detail again Im gonna try to mount the stone instead. Ill put it on a plate secure it with dop wax, submerge it in water and try to hold the shaft with 2 hands to eliminate all the unwanted vibrations.

 

I have no problem keeping things wet as my workspace is in an unused bathroom and the dremel is hanging next to the sink. I cut out a piece of wood that fits into the sink and its like a table with a tap in the middle

 

But the lil mount I built earlier (for the shaft) I took off the sink today and used it to mod a 30+ years old rusty drill press stand (scrap tool heritage :P) and used it to make a flex shaft drill press. Its a very simple mod, drilled my most perfect hole today into an agate :)

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These are all great ideas and input, thank you so much! This is why I was considering the Foredom bench lathe, because it has the ability to attach a flex shaft to it, making it a 2 in one of sorts. I think it would also work to mount the Dremel hand piece or whatever hand piece to a vice and work that way too, which would be a little more cost effective.

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